It was yesterday that the thought of an Amazon Echo speaker that is accompanied by a touchscreen was raised, and today, here we are with an announcement from Amazon concerning a new range of Echo speakers which sport such a capability. The Amazon Echo speaker is truly a wonderful thing, allowing you to interact with Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, in order to have it play your favorite songs, or perhaps help around the home by turning on the lights in the basement, and heck, it is even capable of assisting you when you would like to place some orders online for household items that are running low on stock. What happens when a touchscreen is part of the deal? A whole lot more, that’s what. Amazon’s new model, the Echo Show, will arrive with a 7-inch touchscreen in tow, in addition to a video camera so that users are able to carry out video calls (voice calls as well, fret not) over a stable Wi-Fi connection. That is not all, though. The Amazon Echo Show’s announcement was accompanied by the mention of a software update that will be released this week for free, bringing voice-calling features to millions of current Echo devices that are in and around homes.
The particular introduction of a touchscreen into the Echo Show underlies a shift in interest from Amazon, entering a growing market of communications tools that is currently filled with other players such as Microsoft’s Skype, Apple’s FaceTime and Google’s Hangouts. Not only that, it also places stress on the company’s idea for the Echo range in the future. After all, why work on something new when you can take an existing success and include better technology as well as enhancements so that it will hit the ball out of the park with the next edition? The new communications ability of the Echo Show might prove to be a renaissance for the idea of landlines -- speaking into the Echo Show to command it to place a call to someone, be it in voice or video form.
The end game for Amazon seems to be this: bringing Echo and Alexa together in order to end up as a permanent fixture within the homes of everyone, everywhere. Not only that, this might mark the beginning of the fictional Skynet, as Alexa and Echo combined is a potent system that will help you out with your everyday online shopping needs, not to mention doubling up as a smart home controller, amidst others. With a huge swathe of Echo customers, the Echo Show could not have arrived at a more timely manner since they are well placed to take advantage of being the first mover in the market. Amazon would like to introduce the Echo Show some time later this June, with a starting price point of approximately $230 thereabouts for a solitary Echo Show, while a pair of these would see a substantial cut in the overall price to just $360, which is $100 shaved off.